June 20, 2024

Airbus A340-300: will the former German government aircraft 16+02 take off again?

Former German government aircraft 16+02 has a new owner. It specializes in renting large VIP aircraft such as the Airbus A340.

At the end of September 2023, the Airbus A340-300 with serial number 355 left Germany. The aircraft, which had previously been part of the German Defense Ministry’s air readiness under tactical registration number 16+02, flew to Washington Dulles in the United States and then to Roswell in New Mexico.

The 23-year-old government pilot, named Theodore Heuss, was sold at auction by the Federal Collecting Association, or Vebeg, to an undisclosed buyer. In the USA it was registered N577TA and was initially registered with the trust company Sky West Aviation Trustee.

Still visible with German colours

However, on April 6, 2024, this changed. The plane, which remains in Roswell, has since been owned by a Los Angeles company called CSDS Asset Management, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. It still has registration number N577TA.

Image: Screenshot csdsaircraft.com/available-aircraft

There is now a photo of the Airbus A340 on the CSDS website in the “Available Aircraft” section. You can see: The letters “Federal Republic of Germany” and all other insignia have been removed. Only the black, red and gold stripe continues to run across the white structure.

«Evaluation of large VIP aircraft»

Details of the image indicate that it is an old image from which the letters and logos have been digitally removed. But in reality, all this must have disappeared, otherwise the plane would not have been exported.

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Below the image is also a YouTube video from a German plane spotter showing Flight 16+02 landing in Munich in 2022. Under that, the CSDS wrote: “VIP plane of the head of state.”

Will the A340 take off again?

In the “What We Do” category, the company states on its website: “Selling or leasing commercial and VIP passenger aircraft. Selling or leasing aircraft engines. Aircraft valuations and appraisals – We specialize in valuing large VIP aircraft.

What CSDS plans to do with the former 16+02 is still unclear. The company did not respond to multiple requests from aeroTELEGRAPH. But it should be noted: According to its self-description, the company does not specialize in aircraft recycling and spare parts trading. And in the photo – even if it is old and edited – the CSDS deliberately shows an A340 with engines. None of this sounds like scrapping.